Can You Really Get a $2,000 Bonus for Opening a Citibank Account?

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Citibank is offering a bonus of up to $2,000 to new customers who open a checking account.

That sounds great. We could all use an extra $2,000 this year. But before rushing to the Citi website to sign up, let’s ask a few pertinent questions.

Is the bonus worth pursuing? How many strings are attached? And would you be better off putting your cash in a high-yield savings account, CD or money market account?

How To Earn a $2,000 Bonus by Opening a Citi Checking Account

You’re not going to achieve a $2,000 bonus for opening a Citi checking account without a pile of cash. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves a little.

There are five steps you must complete in order to earn this bonus. Let’s take them one at a time.

Step 1: Open a Checking Account

If you’re at least 18 years old and haven’t owned a Citi checking account in the last 180 days, you’re eligible to open a Citi checking account with one major caveat.

You must not live in these states:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida*
  • Illinois*
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Virginia

*Only certain markets in these states are excluded.

To be eligible for a bonus, you must open an account with Citi on or before April 4, 2023. You also have to use a residential address. Mailing addresses such as P.O. Box numbers aren’t eligible.

Here’s a list of the eligible Citi checking accounts:

  • Citibank® Checking
  • Citi Priority
  • Citigold®
  • Basic Banking

Step 2: Enroll in the Bonus Offer

Citi requires that you enroll in what they call the “New to Citi Checking Cash Bonus Offer” on the same day that you open your new checking account.

You can enroll online or on the phone with a customer service agent. But the fine print states this must take place on the day that you open your checking account.

Step 3: Make a Deposit

You must deposit at least $10,000 by the 20th day after you open your account to remain eligible. (You can stretch that to the 30th day if you open your checking account on the phone.)

The funds you deposit must be from external accounts (as opposed to Citi debit cards or transfers between Citibank accounts). Only three types of deposits are eligible:

  • ACH (Citi calls it “enhanced direct deposit)
  • Check
  • Wire transfer

Citibank checks your balance on the 20th day (30th if you open your account on the phone). If that day falls on a weekend or holiday, the balance check will occur on the next business day. Your balance on that day serves as the maximum potential bonus you can earn.

Here are the maximum bonuses available to you based on your balance on that day, from $200 for a balance of at least $10,000 to $2,000 for a balance of at least $300,000.

Account Balance (21st Day)Maximum Bonus

Step 4: Maintain Your Citi Checking Account Balance

Your balance must stay within the bonus tier you achieve on the 20th day for another 60 days.

In other words, let’s say you have $30,000 in your checking account 20 days after you open it. If on Day 79 your balance falls to $29,999, your maximum bonus becomes $200 instead of $500.

You must maintain a balance of at least $10,000 through the 80th day after you’ve opened your account in order to receive any bonus at all.

If you want a $2,000 bonus, you must have $300,000 or more in your Citi checking account for essentially two months starting with the 20-day balance check.


Step 5: Maintain Your Account Until You Get Your Bonus

Let’s say you achieve a $1,000 bonus 80 days after you open your new Citi checking account. If you shut down your account, or fail to maintain it, until your bonus arrives, you’re no longer eligible to receive your bonus.

“Your Bonus will be paid to your Checking Account within 30 days after you successfully complete all required activities,” Citi says.

Calculating Return on Investment: Is It Worth It?

Let’s assume that you successfully jump through all of Citi’s hoops.

You parked the requisite amount of cash in one of Citi’s checking account options, maintained your balance through Day 80 and enrolled in the bonus program on the day you opened your account.

You still have to ask yourself whether you’re getting a better return on your money than you would with a high-yield savings account, a Certificate of Deposit (CD) or a money market account at one of the best investment companies.

Several savings accounts are offering 4% APY or more. It’s not hard to find one-year CDs paying 5% APY. And most money market accounts are in the same general range in terms of return.

Let’s be super generous to Citi here. Say you successfully parlay $300,000 in cash into a Citi checking account and earn the $2,000 bonus. That’s less than a 0.07% return in what we’ll call two months. Or on pace for a 4% yearly return.

The numbers are a bit friendlier if you deposit $75,000 before Day 20 and meet all the requirements to get a $1,000 bonus from Citi. You get the equivalent of an 8% annual return — that abruptly ends after two months.

Those figures are assuming that you instantly pull the full sum of your money out of your Citi account as soon as you receive your bonus.

Because Citi says you will get paid within 30 days after completing the requirements, you could be earning your bonus over three months instead of two. You can also add in additional days to the calculations if you make your deposit earlier than 20 days after you’ve opened your account.


Plus, not many people should have $300,000 — or even $30,000 — sitting in a checking account and earning zero interest.

Does Citi Offer a Best-in-Class Checking Account?

Getting a $2,000 bonus for opening a Citi checking account and meeting some requirements would be a decent opportunity if you believe that Citi offers one of the best checking accounts on the market.

However, Team Clark does not consider any of the Citi options to be among the best checking accounts.

In fact, all four options will charge you a monthly service fee if you fail to maintain a certain balance (between $1,500 and $200,000 a month).

There are worse places to put your money than Citi. And there are some unique features that you can unlock if you opt for one of their higher-tier checking accounts. But there are also plenty of checking accounts that don’t charge you fees. Some even pay interest.

Final Thoughts

The bonus for new Citi checking account holders makes for an attractive headline.

In reality, getting a $2,000 Citi checking bonus is difficult. It takes a giant stockpile of cash, attention to detail with the various requirements and a decision to forego other, potentially better opportunities to get a yield from your money.

If you believe that Citi offers a checking account product that you want to use long-term, then it may change the equation. But Team Clark does not consider Citi’s checking account product to be among the best.